An exploratory look at the relationship between bully/victim status, locus of control, and hopelessness: A moderator model
The purpose of this study was to examine the relation between involvement (or not) in bullying and locus of control and to explore the moderator effects of hopelessness on this relation. The first research question examined the direction of locus of control among students involved in bullying (i.e., bullies, victims, and bully-victims), compared to students not involved in bullying. The second question examined differences in locus of control scores for bullies compared to victims and bully-victims. Third, differences in locus of control scores across students involved in bullying (or not) were compared across year in school (i.e., entry year, buffer year, and transition year). The fourth research question examined the possible moderator effects of hopelessness on the relation between involvement (or not) in bullying and locus of control. Participants for this study included 469 students (265 girls and 204 boys) from three different Midwestern middle schools.
Individuals involved in bullying presented more external levels of locus of control compared to individuals not involved in bullying, with bully-victims presenting as the most external. Bully-victims and victims were not significantly different from bullies, but they were significantly different from individuals not involved in bullying. For this sample, differences in locus of control that existed across the various status groups did not appear to be affected by year in school. Specifically, there was no evidence that the differences changed over time during the middle school years. In addition, the moderator function of hopelessness was not supported. As a follow-up, post-hoc analyses were conducted to examine the mediator function of hopelessness between involvement (or not) in bullying and locus of control. Limitations of the study are presented and discussed. In addition, implications that these findings have on our understanding of bullying among middle school students and directions for further research suggestions are explored.
0384: Behaviorial sciences